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Elizabeth Monroe

Elizabeth MonroeAKA Elizabeth Kortright

Born: 30-Jun-1768
Birthplace: New York, NY
Died: 23-Sep-1830
Location of death: near Leesburg, VA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA

Gender: Female
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wife of US President James Monroe

Elizabeth Kortright's father was a wealthy merchant whose own father had been a wealthy merchant. The present-day town of Kortright, NY is built on twenty-two thousand acres he owned, and he was a co-founder of the New York Chamber of Commerce in 1769. His daughter was 17 when she married James Monroe, a young lawyer with a passion for politics. She accompanied him on numerous visits to Europe, including an extended stay in Paris while her husband was U.S. Minister to France. She settled with him in Washington DC when he became Secretary of State in 1811.

When her husband was elected President, she was not eager to follow in the footsteps of the outgoing and popular previous First Lady, Dolley Madison. She was not present at her husband's swearing-in ceremony -- held at their home -- and she at first paid none of the expected social calls on dignitaries' and Congressmen's wives, establishing her reputation as a chilly Presidential wife. She rarely attended official events, and when she acted as hostess her invitations were often declined, with many Washington digintaries in effect 'boycotting' her high-society parties. In the privacy of her own home, she reportedly preferred to speak to her husband and children in French.

After her husband left the Presidency, the Monroes retired to his plantation in Virginia, but their time remaining was short. Only a year after leaving the White House, she suffered a stroke, collapsed into an open fireplace, and was severely burned. She survived three more years in constant pain before passing away, and her husband died about ten months later.

Their eldest daughter, Eliza, married George Hay, the District Attorney who prosecuted Aaron Burr for treason.

Father: Lawrence Kortright (b. 27-Nov-1728, d. Sep-1794)
Mother: Hannah Aspinwall Kortright (b. 1735, m. 6-May-1755, d. 1777)
Brother: John Kortright (b. 1755, d. 1810)
Sister: Sarah Kortright Heylinger
Sister: Mary Kortright Knox
Sister: Hester Kortright Gouverneur (b. 1770)
Husband: James Monroe (US President 1817-25, b. 1758, m. 16-Feb-1786, d. 1831)
Daughter: Eliza Kortright Monroe Hay (b. Dec-1786, d. 1840)
Son: James Spence Monroe (b. 1799, d. 28-Sep-1801)
Daughter: Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur (b. 1803, d. 1850)

    Slaveowners
    Dutch Ancestry Paternal
    Belgian Ancestry


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